Skip to main content

Apple's next big product may be a TV

Doug Gross, CNN
Apple's Web-TV device has underperformed, but a full TV may be on the way.
Apple's Web-TV device has underperformed, but a full TV may be on the way.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Reports: A "full-blown" Apple television is on the way
  • A quote from Steve Jobs in his biography says he figured out how to make the set
  • Analysts say they've seen evidence that prototype TVs are being built in China
  • Apple TV, a Web-streaming device, hasn't met expectations

(CNN) -- A fully integrated Apple television, one of Steve Jobs' final visions, might be on the way soon, according to multiple reports.

In "Steve Jobs," a biography of the late Apple co-founder released Monday, author Walter Isaacson writes that Jobs told him he'd finally figured out a way to make a TV practical. He said it would wirelessly synch with other Apple devices.

"It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine," he told Isaacson. "I finally cracked it."

On the same day, analyst Brian White of Ticonderoga Securities issued a report titled "A Full-Blown Apple TV Is On The Way."

In it, he says the book confirms what his multiple trips to China have suggested. He said Ticonderoga has seen evidence that early stage prototypes of an "Apple Smart TV" are already making their way through Chinese factories.

"We believe a product could hit the market in the coming quarters, opening up a new growth category for Apple and driving sales of existing products that play into the Apple digital ecosystem," White wrote.

On Tuesday, Bloomberg cited three unnamed sources saying that Jeff Robbin, the software engineer who built iTunes, is in charge of developing the television set.

The news service quoted another analyst, Gene Munster, of Piper Jaffray Cos., saying that the iPhone 4S's Siri voice-command app could be integrated into a TV system.

Since 2007, the company has made a product called Apple TV, a set-top Web-streaming box that competes with rival Google TV and independent offerings like Roku and Boxee. But compared to hits like the iPhone and iPad, it has largely underperformed, leading Jobs last year to acknowledge that Apple TV has "never been a huge hit."

In September, Apple slashed its price from $299 to $99, but even that hasn't made the service a household name.

In his report, White notes that a refresh of Apple TV set for later this year has been scrapped, potentially signaling the television system's pending arrival.

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT